Every year, it is inevitable that Jesus makes the front page of a handful of newspapers or magazines. Passing by the newsstand, many will recognize his face but the majority will wonder why so much attention is being given to a 2,000 year old dead guy. Yet, Jesus still carries enough intrigue that publishers slap his face on their covers. They do not do this out of respect but because they know he helps them sell their products. They are not alone. His life has been unpacked in books by authors, scholars and poets. His story has been used countless times in movies, television shows and theatrical plays.
To be sure, there are a multitude of lives of Jesus out there and everyone, it seems, wants their version to defend their particular point of view. We hear things like, "Jesus would never drive an SUV", "Jesus wants the troops home", or "Jesus affirms all families". While not everyone claims to be religious, no one wants to appear to go against Jesus--just in case.
With so many opinions floating out there in our information age, how does the average person filter out the facts on Jesus from the spurious speculation? Who was Jesus really? This search to discover the real Jesus is not new. Theologians and scholars have been at it for centuries. They have even given it a formal, academic label called the quest for the historical Jesus. Their quest, often inaccessible to the non-scholar, basically seeks to answer the question: who is the real Jesus?
A stimulating and approachable book, The Case for the Real Jesus, investigates an honest, down-to-earth answer to this question. Relying upon his journalism background, he is convinced the truth can take care of itself and leaves no stone unturned. Strobel writes, "Is it possible to find the real Jesus? That depends on how you answer a more fundamental question: Are you willing to set aside your preconceptions to let the evidence take you wherever it will? And what about me--am I willing to do the same?"
Strobel, a former staunch atheist, followed the trail of evidence to some astounding conclusions in a pervious book called "The Case for Christ". Although the book was published in 1998, the culture has shifted and increasingly new challenges to the traditional view of Jesus are showing up on the internet, popular novels and in the academy. He states,"As someone whose road to faith was paved with painstakingly researched facts and logic, I simply couldn't gloss over these allegations after repeatedly encountering them the last several years."
The new book is a no-holds barred, investigative journey to find the answers to six major challenges. Readers are invited along on a 24,000 mile road trip to hear how respected scholars respond to challenges such as: Isn't the Gospel of Thomas an early and better source than the Biblical Gospels, Didn't the early church fabricate the stories of Jesus and Isn't Christianity a photocopy of earlier pagan religions such as Mithraism?
The book persuasively suggests that people will forever remain curious about the identity of Jesus. Strobel believes some try to reduce Jesus by limiting him to the natural world. Others remain open to the possibility that he is uniquely divine and was resurrected. In the end, he thinks the key reason so many people are interested in Jesus is that his story of triumph over death never gets old and never loses its mystery. Around the planet, the same physical reality that touched the lives of those early followers is still radically transforming people today.